How A Family Grows

Our big one stretches flat against the wall….taller taller. The lines that show his growth have been made with smudged pencil, or blue pen, or red pen. They are probably surrounded by a chocolate fingerprint or two.

Our little one follows 5 years behind him and her lines have just started to merge into his. Her lines are straighter, quieter.

Their lines are different because their lives have been different.

During his early years, we were always moving and working. His Dad had made a leap of faith, quit his job, and started a company. And then the company failed. So he…started another company. I rushed around to different contract Physical Therapy jobs, not ever totally sure where I was going from one day to the next. I filled in for other people’s vacations and lives.

Our little boy’s life was daycare, and he loved it. He ate organic lentil soup and slept on a mat and giggled with his friends and painted his entire body and planted gardens and sang songs. His moments of time at home were recorded quickly and wily-nily, his messy creative brain making him squirm while we tried to hold him against the measuring wall. Stand straight, tilt your head, get off your toes!

He is all about jumping off the highest, tallest, scariest. Mommy, watch this cool trick! His giggles are so passionate that he always gets hiccups and we worry about his diaphragm. He loves everyone, strong and out loud. He wants everyone around him to feel good. And we do.

He must go and do and doesn’t have time to stand and measure and record.

And then she came. Their Dad’s company, steadier. I stopped working. I formed friendships with other mothers in our little mountain town, started going to story hour at the library, and her afternoon naps turned into my writing sessions. Life settled into a more comfortable pair of shoes. For us.

She stands closer to me, wraps her little arms around my legs, and eavesdrops on strangers. Her lines are done with a steadier hand, sometimes early in the morning when the boys are still sleeping, after oatmeal and songs about stars or spiders.

Or sometimes her lines are drawn while her furrowed brow watches the antics of her brother. She presses her head firmly against the wall and stands very still, doing things her own way. She is more serious, slower to giggle, and her love is gentler and reserved for only a select few.

She already seems to be contemplating the bigness of life, spinning her binky round and round while her brother rocks her in the big chair after a bath.

Her life and growth has been recorded differently. The wall where she starts is maybe a little cleaner, and the more defined lines of our life since she joined us are now starting to meet up with the chaos of lines that marked his early years.

Their lives different, their lines different, their parents different, their growing different.

The love….it’s the same.

Have your children had different experiences of life in your family?

Published on: November 11, 2013
About the Author
Photo of Joelle Wisler

Joelle Wisler is a writer, occasional physical therapist, and paranoid trail runner; constantly terrified of being eaten by a mountain lion. She most recently moved from the beach in California to the mountains outside of Boulder, CO where she tries to balance motherhood, writing and maintaining her sanity with her husband, Robb.

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Recent Comments

I loved this!!! It’s really reassuring as we get ready to grow our family to know that yes people and situations and lives are different but the love is the same. Thanks for putting into such perfect words.

Thanks Pam!

Thanks Pam!